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State says there’s not enough proof that bike lanes boost safety, so 26th Ave lanes should go

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
26th powell bike box
The City of Portland wants to create a second, more comfortable crossing of Powell at 28th, but the state says it won’t allow one unless bike lanes and bike boxes at 26th (shown here) are removed.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Three weeks after being asked if it can cite any evidence supporting its claim that removing a bike lane can sometimes increase bike safety, the State of Oregon has come up empty.

Moreover, a state spokeswoman wrote in an email Tuesday that four studies cited by the City of Portland that document safety benefits of bike lanes are inadequate, though the state did not say in what way the studies fall short.

“More research needs to be done,” the Oregon Department of Transportation said in its statement.

Research notwithstanding, the Oregon Department of Transportation is continuing to deny the City of Portland’s request to install a new stoplight at 28th Avenue and Powell (which would let the city create a new north-south neighborhood greenway on 28th) unless the city agrees to first remove the narrow bike lanes from nearby 26th Avenue.

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State’s proposal to improve bike crossings of Powell: Remove bike lane from 26th

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
26th powell bike box
About 600 to 800 people a day currently bike on 26th to cross Powell. The city wants to create a second, more comfortable crossing at 28th, but the state says it won’t allow one unless the lanes and bike boxes at 26th are removed.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is facing pressure from its counterparts at the Oregon Department of Transportation to do something it’s almost never done before: remove bike lanes from a street.

An ODOT official said she could not cite evidence other than the site-specific judgment of her engineering colleagues that removing the bike lane on SE 26th Avenue would improve overall road safety. But she said that because 26th is not as safe to bike on as 28th would be, it stands to reason that the bike lane on 26th should be removed in order to encourage people to cross at 28th.

Therefore, ODOT has agreed to approve the city’s request to add a new traffic signal at 28th and Powell only on the condition that the city remove the bike lane and bike box from 26th.

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Coalition of legislators scores $17 million to rebuild 14 blocks of Outer Powell

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
SE 136th Press Conference-7
State Rep. Shemia Fagan has stepped
up for safer streets in east Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s not the $25 million that would have been wrapped inside last month’s ill-fated bipartisan transportation bill, but Powell Boulevard is lined up for a long-awaited improvement.

The state-run road is lined up to get $17 million to add sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly crossings and bike lane upgrades — which, as we reported last month, could come in the form of protected bike lanes. Another $3 million pledged by the City of Portland Friday would bring the project’s funding to $20 million for the blocks between SE 122nd and 136th avenues.

The rebuild “will break ground in 2018,” according to Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Clackamas) a second-term legislator in a swing district who has been a dogged champion for better walking and biking in the area.

Joining Fagan in support for this funding was a chorus of other local legislators, including Rep. Jessica Vega Pederson (D-East Portland), Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), Sen. Rod Monroe (D-East Portland), Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-NE Portland), Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Happy Valley/East Portland), and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland).

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State seems ‘very receptive’ to a raised bike lane on outer Powell, advocates say

Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Cully Blvd cycle track-3
A low mountable curb like the one on NE Cully
is among designs being seriously debated for
SE Powell east of I-205.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

It’s looking as if the Oregon Department of Transportation might become one of the first state transportation agencies in the country to build a raised bike lane into an urban highway project.

It’s just a possibility and it’s still years away, but it’s the upshot of a meeting Monday in which several biking advocates urged the state to consider the design as part of its Outer Powell Safety Project.

David Hampsten of the East Portland Action Plan bike committee and the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee said in an email this week that he attended to urge ODOT “to consider modifying the planned 8-foot bike lanes into either raised cycle-tracks or adding barriers between the roadway and the bikeway users (bikes and mobility devices).”

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ODOT says new signals with left turn arrows coming to SE Powell next week

Friday, May 29th, 2015
Protest on SE Powell-17.jpg
They heard you.
(Photo: J Maus/BikePortland_

As hundreds of people take to the streets in an expression of frustration about unsafe biking conditions in Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation has just announced plans to install new left turn arrows at SE Powell and 26th Avenue — an intersection where two people have sustained serious injuries in collisions this month.

This announcement comes as a surprise and is very likely a response to the collision that happened at the intersection today and the resulting public pressure that has come from it. ODOT rep Shelli Romero told me back on May 11th at the protest event at Powell and 26th that they want to “redo this signal” but no one expected such a quick timeline. (more…)

Comment of the week: On city streets, what is passing and speeding even for?

Friday, May 15th, 2015

One of the strangest things about so much of the anger and danger on our streets is that so much dangerous driving doesn’t even accomplish anything for the person doing it.

That’s the truth that reader GB captured perfectly on Wednesday with a simple dash-cam video of a completely futile moment of dangerous driving on Southeast Powell Boulevard.

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At die-in, ODOT says it’s already doing its best to improve street safety

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
odoti
The protest was organized after a man biking across Powell Boulevard lost a leg in a collision with a turning pickup truck.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland unless noted)

About two dozen people lay in the one-way street outside the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Portland regional headquarters Wednesday afternoon in a mostly silent demonstration in support of safety improvements on Portland’s urban highways.

Most had biked to the spot; some lay their bicycles beside them. Others had walked; one said he’d walked downtown from North Portland.

Some were children. Some wore fake blood made from ketchup. One had brought a stack of signs: “Oregon Department of Traumatic Injury.”

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Travel time and speed data shows impact of Powell protest

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
Powell protest ride-54.jpg
Concerned Portlanders tamed a major state highway last night by simply crossing the street.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of the stated goals of last night’s protest action on Southeast Powell Boulevard was to slow traffic down. And according to data live traffic data from Portland State University’s Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) lab, it worked.

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Anti-speeding bill nears vote in Salem as activists plan “die-in” at ODOT offices

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
high crash corridors
The City of Portland’s 10 high-crash corridors: Barbur, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Burnside, Sandy, Marine, 82nd, 122nd, Powell, Foster and Division.
(Image: City of Portland)

As Portlanders continue to look for ways to change the culture of speed-oriented streets like Powell Boulevard, state legislators are nearing a vote on a bill designed to do exactly that.

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Local dad calls for ‘super-legal slow-down’ of Powell Boulevard during Monday rush hour

Sunday, May 10th, 2015
Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride 2009-42
Dan Kaufman with one of his sons in 2009.
(Photo:J.Maus/BikePortland)

Saying that traffic injuries like the ones that are common on Powell Boulevard “inexcusable and unnecessary” outside the doors of Cleveland High School, the father of two Cleveland students is organizing a protest of the speed-oriented urban highway during Monday’s rush hour.

A collision Sunday involving a pickup truck and a bicycle severed a young man’s leg. Police said the truck had been northbound on 26th and turned left onto Powell in front of two people heading southbound on bicycles.

Dan Kaufman described Monday’s event as a “super-legal slow-down,” in which people deliberately move slowly on a street in order to call attention to the fact that high speeds, and roads designed to encourage them, are inappropriate in an urban context.

(more…)

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